On Thursday night, 86 percent of the membership in attendance at the Italian Community Center, 631 E. Chicago St., voted to sell part of the center’s parking lot in the Third Ward, adjacent to Summerfest, to the Milwaukee Ballet.
The 1.8-acre parcel, in the southwestern corner of the lot, will sell for $2.4 million.
According to an ICC source, the Ballet will build a new performance center on the land.
"It's a great thing for them and it's a great thing for us," said the source. "Some people said we maybe could've sold it for more money but there's a value to what the Ballet brings to the table.
"They're a great part of the community and they're going to be a great neighbor and a great partner."
The source added depending on how things progress, groundbreaking on the new facility could take place as early as 2017.
"I think they have done their homework," he said, "and that everyone is behind them."
The ICC – then located in a Venetian-style palazzo on Hackett Street on the East Side – purchased the 15.7-acre Third Ward site from Milwaukee County in May 1986 and built a new 60,000-square foot community and conference center on the north end of the site, along Chicago Street. The new center opened in 1990.
Many remember the land as the site of the coachyards where the circus train would arrive and set up as part of the annual Great Circus Parade each summer.
OnMilwaukee has reached out to the Milwaukee Ballet for comment.
Editor's note: A previous version of this story named the source from the ICC; however, due to contractual obligations, he requested we remove his name.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.